With a passion for animals, nature and all things bright and colourful, CBCA award-winning artist and illustrator Jennifer Cossins is responsible for several brilliant non-fiction books for children. In her latest offering, she turns her attention to the strange animals that she has long been fascinated by and that also happen to be her favourite ones to draw, birds.
Birds inhabit every continent on Earth and are one of the most fascinating members of the animal kingdom with their unusual appearance and often strange and unique behaviour. Coming in all shapes and sizes and equipped with feathers, beaks, claws and often excellent eye sight, each species is unique. They can be fast, slow, clumsy, skilled, deadly, passive, clever and sometimes a bit silly. Birds are brilliant and there is nothing else on Earth quite like them…
‘Birds are curious’ writes Cossins in her introduction and her latest book will certainly pique children’s curiosity, wonderment and awe for our feathered friends. In a glorious celebration of birds around the world, Cossins profiles twenty-eight birds of all shapes and sizes, from the tiny tufted coquette that is so small that it is often mistaken for a large bee to the massive southern cassowary, the second heaviest bird in the world.
Dangerous and dainty, beautiful and bizarre, weird and wonderful are all covered in the form of one bird or another. Each bird is unique and memorable; the fancy feathers of the guianan cock-of-the-rock, the colourful claws of the blue-footed booby, the brilliant beak of the sword-billed hummingbird, the terrific throat pouch of the magnificent frigate bird. Every turn of the page will generate excitement and a buzz about birds.
The coverage of winged wonders is superb. Some will be familiar, others less so and several need to be seen to be believed as they look like they have come straight out of a child’s imagination - the ocellated turkey, captioned as ‘The strutting rainbow’, being one example such is their wonderful array of colourful feathers.
It is a brilliant non-fiction book that strikes the perfect balance between being highly educational, highly engaging and highly enjoyable. The front cover immediately grabs the attention, the striking pink end papers are a delight and what waits inside is im-peck-able. Each bird is introduced over a double page spread with an eye-catching illustration and an accompanying page of text is full of interesting information and fascinating facts; location, lifespan, conservation status and various measurements including height, weight and wingspan are all covered via a quick reference fact-file with further information contained within the paragraphs of text.
Cossins wants to educate readers on why birds are so awesome and hopes that her book will encourage us all to ‘love, care and respect’ them. I can confidently say, mission accomplished. Such a book will be enjoyed by a wide audience, younger children will love looking at the brilliant birds and confident readers will enjoy filling their minds with lots of bird related facts. I have a five-year-old niece who loves bird-watching, she already has her own binoculars and can identify several garden birds. She is going to absolutely adore this book and I cannot wait to share it with her.
With thanks to Hachette and Lothian Children’s Books for this brilliant non-fiction book.
Recommended for 5+.